Yang Hengjun, Stern Hu, Charlotte Chou: Detentions shade Australia-China ties
- Over the past 10 years, there have been some very high-profile cases including Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu, whose arrest came at the height of the "iron ore wars"; education entrepreneur Charlotte Chou, who faced questionable charges after falling out with her business partner; and Crown Resorts executive Jason O'Connor, who was on a business trip to Shanghai when he was detained along with 18 other employees in a series of overnight raids.
- Charlotte Chou's case attracted attention after it was revealed she had been taken away from her one-year old son late at night and questioned for three days without sleep before signing a confession on the promise she would be released.
- In all these cases and those of others detained in China, DFAT's preference has been to make any strong representations to Chinese authorities behind closed doors and avoid so-called "megaphone diplomacy".
Three Men Charged in ‘Swatting’ Schemes
- LOS ANGELES – Three men allegedly conspired with admitted “swatter” Tyler Rai Barriss to make hoax reports of bombs and murders to police departments, high schools and a convention center across the United States, according to three indictments unsealed today.
- The three new cases allege that the men agreed with Barriss to make false reports of explosives and armed individuals to generate a law enforcement response that was intended to harass and intimidate their targets and to evacuate public buildings.
- Patel allegedly conspired with Barriss over several days in early December 2017 to make false police reports to law enforcement authorities in Milford, Connecticut.
- Stewart is charged with conspiring with Barriss to cause the evacuation of a high school in Gurnee, Illinois by making two false bomb threats in early December 2017.
Microsoft confirms Bing is down in China
- The Seattle-based behemoth has confirmed that its search engine is currently inaccessible in China and is “engaged to determine next steps,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch Thursday morning.
- Citing sources, the Financial Times reported (paywalled) on Thursday that China Unicom, a major state-owned telecommunication company, confirmed the government had ordered a block on Bing.
- Bing also censors its search service for Chinese users, so it would be odd if its inaccessibility turned out to be a case of government clampdown.
- Google told the U.S. Congress in December it had no immediate plans to relaunch its search engine in China but felt “reaching out and giving users more information has a very positive impact.” The Mountain View-based firm shut down its search engine in mainland China back in 2010 under pressure over censorship but also cited cyber attacks as a factor in its decision to leave.
I don’t travel anywhere without this $16 flip case organizer that holds and protects all my essential tech accessories
- Thanks to your increasing use of tech, you probably also wouldn't be caught without your chargers, portable battery, headphones, and a variety of other small accessories.
- It unzips smoothly to lay flat and has the perfect number of compartments to store my accessories: one large, zippered pocket, where I put my slightly bulky portable battery; one narrow, zippered mesh pocket for my USB wall chargers; two small, elastic slip pockets, which I used for my pairs of wireless and wired earbuds; and five elastic loops to hold down charging cords and camera memory cards.
- I don't normally dwell on utilitarian purchases like a travel tech organizer, but this one has been on every one of my packing checklists lately because of its simple effectiveness and stylish look.
Here's how a grand jury works and why the government shutdown is affecting the grand juries in the Mueller investigation
- Ranging anywhere in size from 16 to 23 members, grand juries hear testimony and review evidence in criminal inquiries over a period of months to determine whether or not to indict one more people suspected of committing federal crimes.
- Federal prosecutors in any case, not just long-term investigations like the Mueller probe, must secure the approval of at least 12 grand jurors before indicting any person or entity on federal charges.
- In other words, all of the indictments handed down in the Mueller probe have been based not just on evidence uncovered by prosecutors and investigators, but approved by at least 12 mystery jurors based on testimony they've heard and evidence they've reviewed.
- The standard of proof for a grand jury to hand down a federal indictment, however, is lower than the standard jurors in criminal cases are instructed to apply when deciding whether to convict a defendant.
What the Supreme Court’s silence on DACA means
- That was the case on the morning of January 22nd, when the court’s 13-page list of orders in pending cases included not a word on litigation concerning Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era immigration programme that Donald Trump has been trying—unsuccessfully—to end.
- In January, February and April of last year, federal district courts in San Francisco, New York and the District of Columbia each blocked Mr Trump’s plans, telling him he had not followed proper procedures in rescinding Mr Obama’s executive order.
- (One of the tribunals, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, then released its ruling, unfavourable to Mr Trump, on November 8th.) It would be “at least a year”, the administration pleaded, before possible relief from the circuits came, and in the meantime, DACA’s existence would represent an “ongoing violation of federal law by more than half a million people”.
White House plans to send 50 judicial nominees to new Congress
- Former White House counsel Don McGahn -- who considered judicial nominees one of his top priorities -- has left the administration and former Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has moved over to the Finance Committee.
- Among those on the White House list are Neomi Rao, who currently serves as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and has been nominated to fill the former seat of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as well as Wendy Vitter, who came under fire in her confirmation hearing last year for declining to say whether she thought the landmark case of Brown v.
- Judicial conservatives argued Vitter had declined to answer the Brown question because she believes that judges should maintain their impartiality by declining to put forward personal opinions on particular cases.
Last Year Was Bad for Measles. A New Outbreak in Washington Suggests 2019 Could Be Worse
- An outbreak of measles cases in Washington state has infected 22 people, most of them children under 10, in what is the second significant outbreak of the disease in the U.S. since September.
- Health officials in Washington’s Clark County, which sits north of Portland, Ore., said that 17 of the cases in the outbreak involved children under the age of 10, with another four between 11 and 18 years old.
- The Clark County measles outbreak comes only four months after New York State recorded 167 cases of measles in September, in what was one of the worst outbreaks in the U.S. in decades.
- The reasons for the rise in new measles cases are related to increased travels to areas where measles is more common, as well as the vulnerability of communities in the U.S. where people choose not to vaccinate their families against the disease.
Supreme Court will hear New York gun rights case on transporting unloaded handguns
- The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hear a 2nd Amendment case that could limit restrictions on gun owners.
- Three handgun owners and the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association challenged the ban, arguing that it unconstitutionally interfered with their right to gun ownership, as well as their right to travel.
- The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the gun owners' claims, and in February of last year the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.
- The gun owns brought their case to the high court in June and asked the justices to reverse the second circuit's ruling.
- It is the first gun rights case since Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the bench.
- Kavanaugh is believed to have an expansive view of gun rights based on his lower court rulings on the matter.
DC gridlock, government shutdown are bullish for stocks, Mayflower's Larry Glazer says
- Sometimes, no movement is good movement.
- In the case of the government shutdown, money manager Larry Glazer believes it's favorable for Wall Street — at least in the short term.
- His reasoning: It prevents lawmakers from passing policies that could be detrimental to corporate America.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index are up more than 10 percent since the shutdown began on Dec. 22.
- Despite Glazer's optimistic view on the gridlock, he doesn't believe it'll flow through to the corner office.
- He believes CEOs will use the government shutdown as a negative trend in their earnings announcements.
- According to Glazer, opportunity would follow the negativity.
- But, his bullish case comes with a caveat.
- Since it's not his base case, Glazer, who manages more than $3.5 billion, is sticking with the view that both sides of the aisle will resolve the shutdown.